Just because I think plastic bags should be re-used multiple times doesn’t mean I want new ones literally showing up on my doorknob, but that’s just what happened a few days ago. I came home to find this advertising piece from Comcast hanging there in a plastic bag. Talk about instant irritation! “Holy crap!” I shouted to no one in particular. “I go through all this effort to bring my own bags so I don’t have to tote new ones home, and then the bags start coming to me!”
Well, I hadn’t written one of my busy-body e-mails in a while, so last night I sat down to do just that:
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 00:25:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: Beth Terry
Subject: Consumer complaint regarding Comcast promotional door-hanger
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew_C_Johnson@cable.comcast.com, email@example.com
Hello. I am a Comcast cable television customer.
A few days ago, I was dismayed to come home and find a Comcast advertising piece (Ready. Set… Catch the action on Comcast HDTV) hanging from my doorknob in a plastic bag.
Here in Oakland, CA we have recently passed a plastic bag ban, which bans plastic grocery bags from stores. We have done this because we are concerned about waste from plastic bags polluting our streets and waterways, harming marine life, and using non-renewable petroleum resources.
Many of us carry our own reusable bags when we go shopping so that we can avoid having to carry home any new disposable bags at all — paper or plastic. So it is extremely frustrating for us to come home and find a plastic bag hanging from the doorknob that is completely unsolicited and unwanted.
There are those of us who, even though we don’t want the Comcast bag, will find a way to recycle and reuse it so that it doesn’t harm the environment. However, there are unfortunately others who will simply see it as junk and toss it out into the street. We already have enough waste in the streets of Oakland. We don’t need more!
Please help us to cut down the amount of plastic waste in our city by putting an end to the practice of leaving promotional literature in plastic bags. I look forward to your response on this matter.
[address and phone number omitted]
What do you know? First thing this morning, I got a telephone call from Steve Briones in Comcast Executive Customer Relations. He told me Comcast didn’t realize Oakland had passed a plastic bag ban, said that he would forward my message on to the direct sales and marketing departments, and would make sure they didn’t leave plastic bag doorknob hangers in Oakland anymore.
This is the first time anyone I’ve e-mailed has called me the very next day. (The first time anyone has called me at all.) I am encouraged! However, my excitement is tempered with a healthy wait-and-see dose of skepticism. I’m also concerned that Comcast will continue the practice in areas that do not have plastic bag bans in effect.
If you receive one of these advertising pieces on your doorknob, please don’t hesitate to contact Comcast. The e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to hand-write a letter, you could mail it to the following people:
Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications
1500 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Senior Director of Corporate & Consumer Communications
1500 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
So the moral of the story is, we are not powerless. If a company does something that you feel is not in the best interest of the world, don’t be afraid to speak up. Change may be a simple e-mail away. If something pisses you off enough to take action, there are probably hundreds more people who are just as pissed off who won’t.